From Health to Performance

The title may seem quite obvious, but its actually the opposite of most sports/martial arts philosophies. The first time that most think about their health is when they are broken, and need fixing.

Being healthy is about much more than just being fit. You can of course be fit and unhealthy. In fact most top athletes are always on the verge of being sick, like a finely tuned racing car that’s just on the edge of breaking down. For me, a holistic rounded healthiness is a goal worth pursuing.

In Systema you first focus on building the person to a level of holistic health. When you do, all of the following are improved:

  • Joint resilience and mobility. You have to be strong not just when you are ‘aligned properly’ but also when you inevitably come out of alignment. Mobility exercises on the move (dynamic) are great for this.
  • Avoiding injury. Strengthening and recruiting the ligaments and tendons in order to endure longer and protect against injury. Slow movements target tendons. Try taking a minute to do a single, smooth push up for example.
  • Strength to bodyweight ratio. This should be 1:1, if you can bicep curl, run and bench press but can’t do a strict pull up or push up then you need to think again. Work with movements instead of exercising muscles. When you do this you don’t need supplementary ‘core’ or muscle exercises. More movement is all we need. Smooth, slow, simple movements are great, such as getting to the prone position and back up, or ground flow.
  • Effortless movement. Learn the correct way to move i.e with your body not against it. Move with softness and ease, protecting and looking after yourself. Avoid an unnecessary build up of tension and pressure as you move. You can do this with every movement that you do throughout the day.
  • How to manage physical stress, contact or impact. People carry the effects of impact around with them, often far longer than they need to. Letting the impact go is simply a case of learning to breathe it out and release it. Static pushing and striking drills are great for this. 
  • How to manage emotional stress. Again simply a case of learning to breathe and let go physically. We hold emotions physically in the body. When you let go of your tensions physically the emotions leave too. Again practices that require physical contact are great for this because they push so many buttons for people. Doing them gently and mindfully, and then building speed and intensity is the way. Gradual adjustments.
  • Breathing in a way that calms, restores and protects your body. Simple Russian breath ladders while walking are great for this. 
The exercises and many more can be found in the books below or in the downloadable videos also shown below.
My very best wishes for you training and health,


Click the images below to find out more and get your copies.